Broom Goes the Dynamite
It's fast paced. It's athletic. And it's on a broomstick.
Welcome to the wonderful world of Quidditch.
The sport (and they call it a sport) was ripped right out of the pages of J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series with a few muggle addendums, at least as it's played at Appalachian State University.
"Every player, when they play, they have to have a broom between their legs at all times," ASU Quidditch co-commissioner Kelly Maskarinec said.
And, while broom may not soar through the air, balls do.
"We have the goal posts set up like they do in the movies with the tree hoops," Maskarinec said.
The positions are the same. You have the chasers who score and the seeker who seeks. The beaters?
"They don't actually hit the flying balls," she said. "They use dodge balls and hit other players."
Once hit, the player has to run around his team's goal post.
"It's like you got knocked off your broom," Maskarinec said.
And, just like in the books, there's a seeker. The difference? It's not a golden ball with wings. It's a sock with a tennis ball.
"A person [the snitch runner] has to have it tucked into their pants, and they're wearing all yellow," she said.
Instead of chasing the snitch around the Quidditch arena, seekers chase the snitch runner all over campus. "We don't let them cross the main roads or anything," she said.
And the snitch runner?
"He can run around and tease people," she said. "No one can hurt the snitch."
And this really happens. It's not just at ASU. Last weekend, ASU's team competed in its first tourney in Rock Hill, playing Winthrop and Duke University. While they lost to Duke, they beat Winthrop and, according to Maskarinec, it's a start.
With another movie out ("Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1" in Regal Cinema 7 Friday), "Potter" fans are more driven than ever to wizard their way to the quidditch arena.
"It's fun to watch it in the movies and be like, 'I played this sport,'" Maskarinec said.
What started as a club at ASU earlier this year will eventually become a club sport: At least that's what organizers are hoping for.
"Some people haven't even read the books, just like the sport," she said.
And quidditch is contagious.
It starts with each team lined up at their goal posts. "You have to say brooms down," she said.
Next, the referee says, "The snitch is loose."
Everyone's eyes are down as the snitch runner makes his or her escape.
Grab your brooms and fly - um, gallop - to your positions!
For more information on quidditch, check out the App State Quidditch Facebook page.